BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — After multiple previous attempts for a launch, the California-space company Astra finally completed its first Space Coast liftoff on Thursday afternoon, but it did not go according to plan.
What You Need To Know
- Due to an issue during the launch, Astra officials say the rocket's payload was not successfully deployed
- RELATED: Astra aborts first Space Coast launch due to 'minor telemetry issue'
Astra sent off its Rocket 3.3 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Complex 46, just after the launch window opened at 3 p.m. EST.
While the launch was a success, the mission wasn't, the company reported shortly after liftoff.
Astra's first Space Coast mission was supposed to deliver an operational payload of six CubeSats into orbit for NASA.
Due to "an issue during today's flight," the satellites were not successfully deployed, the company said on Twitter.
We experienced an issue during today's flight that resulted in the payloads not being delivered to orbit.— Astra (@Astra) February 10, 2022
We are deeply sorry to our customers @NASA and the small satellite teams. More information will be provided after we complete a data review.
Astra had been dealing with a number of setbacks even before Thursday's successful launch. On Monday, Feb. 7, Astra’s launch window opened at 1 p.m. EST, but at T-11 minutes, 46 seconds, the launch was put on hold due to wind limits.
Once that was resolved, a new launch time was issued at 1:50 p.m., but at the last moment during the countdown, the rocket’s internal systems aborted the mission.
The abort was caused by a "minor telemetry issue," said Carolina Grossman, Astra's director of product, during Monday’s live feed.
Days before, on Saturday, that launch was postponed near the 3:30 p.m. launch time due to what was described as a radar-range asset issue.
The satellites intended for orbit had been designed to test operations in the space environment.
"This mission includes 4 CubeSats for NASA developed by three universities and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The CubeSats, selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), are flying on the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission," the company explained about the Monday mission.
Astra's Rocket 3.3, which is only 43 feet tall and smaller compared to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that stands at 229.6 feet, has launched four times, all from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska's Kodiak Island.
Astra only has one successful launch into orbit under its belt, which was back in November and that was sending a demonstration payload for the U.S. Space Force, stated the company.
Astra has a launch under NASA's Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration (VCLS Demo 2) contract. It is an opportunity for companies, like Astra, to further prove the capability of the rocket while also carrying a lower importance payload.